Boroughmuir's Courtney McAvoy on how she is tearing up the SWPL2 and the club's lofty ambitions

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Scoring 39 goals so far this season, Boroughmuir Thistle have become the SWPL2’s great entertainers. Courtney McAvoy has a leading role in the Edinburgh side’s attacking threat. She has already scored 10 goals and is the league’s second-top scorer.

“To be honest, I would never have thought I would in this position,” McAvoy exclaimed when looking back on her goal tally. “I've noticed over the past month or so I’ve been up there at the top with Abby [Callaghan], battling it out. If I won the golden boot, I would be over the moon, ecstatic. It is something I would personally love because I am quite a competitive person. Again, it’s about getting those results and I would prefer to be winning games to be honest. If I could get the golden boot this season, that would be unbelievable.”

The golden boot could certainly be on the cards for the attacking midfielder come the end of the season as she continues to light up the division with her clinical instinct. One goal behind Queen’s Park’s Amy Callaghan, McAvoy, who turns 28 next month, has scored six goals in seven games since the turn of the New Year. Five of these came in January which included an impressive hattrick against current league leaders Montrose leading her to win Boroughmuir’s first-ever SWPL2 Player of the Month award.

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“It was amazing”, she told the Edinburgh Evening News. “I'm not going to lie I’ve had a couple of injuries, so I’ve not played the games at the beginning of the season. Last year, I think I scored seven goals and this year I said I'd be happy to walk away from the season and have scored 10. I'm now at that mark so I'm really excited about that.

Courtney McAvoy receives her SWPL 2 Player of the Month for January 2023. Credit: Malcolm MackenzieCourtney McAvoy receives her SWPL 2 Player of the Month for January 2023. Credit: Malcolm Mackenzie
Courtney McAvoy receives her SWPL 2 Player of the Month for January 2023. Credit: Malcolm Mackenzie

“To win the award, to be honest, I was really shocked even to be nominated. I did have a really good January, but there are some really great players in the league. To even be nominated, was thought a bit of an honour and then to actually go on and win it was just fantastic. It's the first time I've been nominated and so the first time that I've actually won the award so couldn't be any happier with that to be honest.

“It's great for the team as well. To find out I was the first person from Boroughmuir to win it was just fantastic. All the girls really congratulated me and made it a big deal in training and stuff so that was really nice. To have all the support as well from the coaches and so forth, it was really exciting.”

Boroughmuir are the biggest women’s club in Scotland, in terms of participation, and came extremely close to promotion to the top tier last season, taking the promotion race to the final day in a winner takes all game against Glasgow Women. However, it wasn’t to be and a 3-1 loss halted any celebrations. The club’s ambitions of one-day joining fellow Edinburgh sides Hibs, Hearts and Spartans have not diminished as they aspire to compete amongst the elite teams in Scotland within the next couple of years.

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“The club are definitely going in the right direction”, McAvoy added. “They are really ambitious and [the SWPL1] is ultimately where they want to be within the next two years. It would be amazing; every footballer wants to be playing at the top level and to be playing against the best teams we can be playing and really competing in the top arena. It would be really exciting.

“We had the chance to play Celtic in the Scottish Cup and even that was just fantastic. The girls did really well, Celtic won but they really battled hard. That’s what we want to be doing, getting into that top league and trying to compete against these teams. Some teams have done a really good job of it. For example, Partick over the past couple of years got promoted into the league and has seemed to have taken to it really well, broken through and now they are competing in the top six. That’s something Boroughmuir are aspiring to achieve.”

McAvoy’s side sits sixth in the SWPL2 and are eyeing up a late promotion push this season. Seven points off the promotion play-off spot with a game in hand, the Edinburgh side made a massive statement to the league last game, as they battered second-place Gartcairn 7-0 at the Meadowbank Stadium. With six teams all fighting for promotion, McAvoy feels that everything is to play for as the sides enter the business end of the season.

“We saw that game and Suzy [Shepherd] mentioned it in the changing room as a game to make our mark and maybe determine if we can actually catch up with Gartcairn”, she stated. “It was a really crucial three points to close that gap. We've got to play Gartcairn once more and we have already beaten them twice. We are confident we can get the three points then that takes it to just a four-point gap. It's a really competitive league and every team will naturally drop points.

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“It’s all to play for just now, to be honest. I'm sure that St. Johnstone, Queen’s Park, and Kilmarnock will be really revved up to get into that second place. So it's going to be really exciting over the next 10 more games or something like that.”

With only 10 games left of the season for Boroughmuir, every game will feel like a cup final over the coming weeks. This Sunday, the Edinburgh side will travel to St. Johnstone to play their game in hand. A win could see them jump to fourth and close in on the promotion spot.

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